The governor's office says the state saved 12-million dollars last fiscal year as a result of the criminal justice reforms approved in 2017. Louisiana Department of Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc says 70% of those savings will be reinvested into programs to reduce recidivism and support victims.
“We gotta give this time, but the first indications are that it is doing the things that PEW told us would happen, things that other states have already done,” said LeBlanc.
PEW Charitable Trusts worked with the state to help create the criminal justice reforms and previously projected savings of six-million dollars in the first year.
The state has seen a noticeable drop in the number of inmates in the system since 2016, but LeBlanc says that’s not where most of the savings are actually coming from.
“It has more to do with people not coming back to prison, less revocations in our probation parole division, and less nonviolent people coming into prison.”
The estimated savings are more than double that which PEW initially estimated when the reforms went into effect.
The Secretary singled out one initiative in particular, Compliance Credit, for having exceeded even the more optimistic projections for success. Compliance Credits allow those on parole to be able to complete certain activities and achievements to reduce the time remaining on their sentence. LeBlanc says this saves the state money, by helping nonviolent offenders get out of the system faster.
“We’re learning that that is a great tool, and were learning that they want to do better because they know if they do better they’re going to get rewarded.”